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barbie (2653)

  reversethis-{ku. ... m} {ta} {eibrab}

Leader of [] and a CPAN author []. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [] and the QA Hackathon [] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.

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Journal of barbie (2653)

Thursday October 23, 2008
08:35 AM

A Wish for CPAN Ratings

[ #37718 ]

CPAN Ratings might not be for everyone, but it does have its place. However, I've notice a problem with CPAN Ratings recently, that would be really worthwhile addressing, to help redress the balance of some of the negative feedback there, from bad or erroneous reviews. Currently the author of a distribution under review is unable to add an appropriate follow up comment to a specific review. Yes, you can add a new review, but personally adding a review to my own distribution and rating it 5/5 I feel is pointless.

In a review of WWW-Scraper-ISBN-Pearson_Driver, the reviewer appears to have mistaken the ratings as a bug reporting tool. However, looking up another review by the same reviewer, for WWW-Scraper-ISBN-LOC_Driver, it would seem that the 27 ISBNs he used where novels by suthors such as John Grisham. Now the last time I looked, John Grisham had never written an education title, and none of his novels are classed as Educational. So why on earth would the reviewer think that "Pearson Education" would hold any titles that would be considered novels? Now I'm guessing here that all the 27 ISBNs he used are novels, but judging from his other review, this would seem to be the case.

Firstly, the review of WWW-Scraper-ISBN-Pearson_Driver is misleading as it stands. Unless I know what the ISBNs are I cannot confirm whether they should or shouldn't be returned. Which leads me to the second point, that CPAN Ratings is not a bug reporting tool. Fine if there is something you do or don't like about a distribution, have found it good or bad to use, understand and develop with, as these are all likely to be emotional experiences which is really what CPAN Ratings is trying to capture. But the review here appears to be a bad attempt at understanding the module, even though the module itself states it's for the Pearson Education Online Catalogue, and the reviewer would have been better to post a ticket to RT listing the 27 ISBNs that it doesn't work with. Which brings me, thirdly, to the point that these kinds of reviews, without any opportunity for the author to clarify, lead to perpetuated misunderstandings. Apparently that review has found helpful by 2 out of 5 people. Of those 2, how many now think that the module is woefully broken, despite the 48/48 PASS reports?

The CPAN Ratings site is a worthy site and while many reviews I've read on there don't need any further comment, it would be nice for those few reviews that are potentially misleading, for the author to add a comment to clarify any misunderstandings, without having to rate their own distributions first. I suspect this change might be a big change, as it would require PAUSE authentication, additional tables and code changes, but it would be nice to have. Does the CPAN Ratings code base have an RT stream? If so I'd like to add the above to its wishlist :)

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  • To make a point, you should give a rating to the code that runs the CPAN ratings site. Only it's not on the CPAN :-(
    • But that kind of misses the point :)

      I don't want to give a review, I want to suggest a feature that I think would be useful to help the author clarify a review that either misunderstands the distribution, is a bug report in the wrong place, or to simply highlight that any issues raised in the review are now fixed in a newer version, or something similar.

      It would help to reduce the impact of undeserving bad reviews, and potentially have them turned into good reviews.